Cara raced down the stairs and out the front door as she pushed 911 on her cell phone. The dispatch operator came on the line. “What’s your emergency?”
“My girlfriend’s father is trying to kill her!” Cara cried.
“Are you with her now? Are you safe?” the operator asked.
“I’m outside the house and safe until he comes after me. I’m running away from the house,” Cara said breathlessly as she ran toward her house which was less than half a mile away.
“What is the address where the assault is taking place?” the operator asked.
Cara gave her Jenna’s address and then told the operator, “Her father is Michael Matthews. He’s a sheriff’s deputy. He may be armed. I’m afraid he’s going to kill her.”
“Get to a safe place,” the operator instructed. “The police are on the way. What is the number where you can be reached?”
“My cell phone,” Cara answered, giving the operator her cell phone number. “I only live a few blocks away. I’m almost home. I’m going to get my mom. She’s a nurse. She can help Jenna.”
“Do not return to your friend’s house until you are given the okay by the police. Do you think your friend will need an ambulance?” the operator asked.
“Yes! He’s going to kill her if someone doesn’t get there soon. Mom!” Cara yelled as she rushed through the front door.
“Are you in a safe place now?” the operator asked.
“Yes, I’m home with my mother,” Cara said.
“What is your name?” the operator asked.
“Cara Marshall,” Cara said as her mother rushed into the living room.
“What’s going on?” Caroline asked as she came into the room wiping her hands with a dish towel.
“Jenna’s father is beating her to death!” Cara said.
“Cara, stay with your mother. Do not go back to the Matthews’ house. Someone will contact you,” the operator said.
“Okay. Thank you,” Cara said and hung up on the dispatcher.
“What do you mean Jenna’s father is beating her to death?” Caroline asked her daughter.
Cara threw herself into her mother’s arms. “Jenna’s father walked in on us kissing and started hitting Jenna,” Cara sobbed into her mother’s neck.
Caroline wrapped her arms around Cara and tried to grasp what she’d just heard. She pulled Cara away from her and looked into her daughter’s terrified, tearful blue eyes. “Tell me exactly what happened.”
Taking a deep breath to calm herself, Cara relayed the story to her mother. After Cara had told Caroline about Jenna’s father backhanding her, Caroline took her daughter’s face in her hands and saw the clear red marks from where Michael Matthews had hit her.
“That son-of-a-bitch,” Caroline hissed. “Let’s go.” She grabbed Cara’s hand and started for the door.
“But the 911 lady said to stay here until the police contact us,” Cara protested, but let her mother drag her toward the door.
“Michael Matthews better pray the police get there before I do,” Caroline growled and continued pulling Cara out the front door. Caroline was shaking with anger. Michael Matthews may not think that I petite five-foot woman could do much damage to him, but he’d find out different when Caroline got her hands on him.
Caroline knew that Cara and Jenna were dating. Unlike most parents who would have freaked out when their daughter told them she was gay, Caroline had been relieved that her daughter wouldn’t get pregnant by a loser at sixteen as she had. Caroline had not been surprised at all when Cara had told her that she was in love with her best friend, Jenna Matthews. The two had been inseparable since junior high.
It had been clear right away that Jenna was just as in love with Cara. But, Caroline had worried about Michael finding out. He was a jerk who abused his wife and daughter. She worried that he would hurt Jenna if he found out about them. Now, it would seem that her fears had been realized.