In England, Chancy picked up the phone tremulously hoping it wasn’t bad news. ‘Mum, mum, it’s me!’ Chancy sank onto the seat by the phone hot tears trickled down her face. A sigh of utter relief filled her heart with joy, as she heard the sound of her daughter’s excited voice.
’Jemma sweetheart; gasped Chancy down the phone line. ‘Are you all right? Where are you?’
‘I can’t stay on the phone long mum. I’m ringing from a friend’s place. I don’t want you to worry. I’m safe and I’ll write soon. Love you mum. Bye.’
Chancy with tears streaming down her face walked slowly back into the living room. Seeing the tears sliding down her face as she entered the room, Tad stood up instantly. Two strides and he wrapped his arms around her. ‘What’s happened love?’ he said worriedly, a feeling of sheer dread filling him with alarm.
‘No!No! It’s good news Tad.’ She smiled up at him, happily wiping the tears away from her face with her arm. ‘It was Jemma, Tad. She wouldn’t say much. Just that she was safe. She was ringing from a friend’s and she would write soon. She told me not to worry as if I wouldn’t,’ she sobbed, the tears of relief rolling down her face once again. ‘I know love.’ He pulled her into his arms and hugged her. ‘You’d still worry no matter where she was. It’s only natural for a mother. At least she’s rung you. It does help a bit,’ said Tad, gently guiding her towards the settee and sitting her down.
‘Yes’ she replied sitting down with him. Then jumping up again quickly as she remembered how worried Jemma’s friend Abbey was. ‘I’ll have to ring Abbey. She’s rung every day asking if we’ve heard anything yet and I suppose we’ll have to let the police know as well.’
Chancy returned to the front room after ringing Abbey and the police to sit down again on the settee with Tad. ‘I would still like to know where she is, and why she ran away?’ she said gazing wistfully at him. ‘But, I don’t suppose I ever will.’
‘Yes, so would I,’ Tad answered sadly. ‘I thought she liked me a little bit but she always seemed very serious after I moved in. I didn’t think she was so serious when we first began going out together.’ A puzzled frown crossed the usually happy go lucky countenance. ‘Do you think that maybe she had a boyfriend?’
‘If she did’ she didn’t say anything to me,’ Chancy replied thoughtfully. ‘I know she went out a lot more when you moved in because if you remember, I told you off a couple of times for giving her too much money.’
‘Yes, you did,’ he grinned at her ruefully. ‘Actually, it was your entire fault you know, you’re so beautiful Chancy, I can’t help loving you. I just wanted you all to myself. Now, do stop worrying, she said she’d write soon, she would probably explain things then. At least we know she’s safe now, so try sliding over here so that I can get my hands on you.’ Feeling much happier Chancy slid along the settee and into his eager arms. She was very willing to give into his wishes. The last month had been like heaven to Chancy before Jemma had mysteriously disappeared. Even though Jemma had made her life bearable after the terrible ordeal she had been through with Dennis.
She had moved into the refuge terrified, her face black and blue with the beatings. How she wished she had known what sort of person he was before she had married him. He had seemed to be everything a young girl could want. He had always appeared well dressed and he had been quite handsome. He had brought her presents and taken her out. She had felt loved and protected. For the first time in her life she had felt happy.
Until she found out she was pregnant. Overnight he had changed completely. He didn’t want the baby, how could she entertain his friends with a baby in her belly? He’d called her terrible names, and tried to force her into having an abortion.
Chancy’s dreams had all been shattered. The illusion of a normal happy life withered beneath his contemptuous scathing remarks. A family wasn’t on his agenda. She would have been happy to give up her work, thinking he wanted them to have a family. Instead he had gone through strange moods, complaining about the way she dressed. Making her cut her hair in a different style, sending her to cookery classes. Then he’d sat hours on end, correcting her speech, making her read books on etiquette. He had demanded meals on the table at set times, rung her up at the last minute and told her to have a meal ready for six people in an hour’s time.
The house had to be spotless he would come home and run his fingers over the most unlikely places, and tell her she hadn’t cleaned properly. No matter how she tried, she couldn’t do anything right. She had done her utmost to change and be, as he wanted. There was always something, she had forgotten, or something she didn’t say right in front of his friends.
She had become so demoralised and unhappy, forever trying to grant his every wish, that even their lovemaking had come to a point where she didn’t want to do it any more. When she had found out she was pregnant, she had thought he might be happy.
Happy! The back-hander’s and slaps she had endured, turned to punching and kicking, especially when she had told him it was too late to get rid of it. He had ranted and raved and she had become terrified for the baby’s life. Eventually, one night after one of his temper tantrums she had locked herself in the bedroom escaping after he left the house and fleeing to her friend’s home.
Chancy’s friend had taken her to a refuge for women. It was there she had sobbed her story out and after gaining legal advice, she had eventually obtained a divorce.
For three years she had moved from district to district until he had finally given up on her. Jemma had been seven years old before she had managed to secure a decent job and a good neighbour to keep an eye on Jemma until she came home from work.
It had taken a great amount of courage and scrimping and saving to finally arrive at where she was now. When Tad had asked her to marry him, she had said no. Afraid of losing the independence she had fought so hard to gain. She had then told him if he wanted to he could move in and live with her they would see how things went from there. Things had been good until Jemma had disappeared and upset her but Tad had shown her every consideration possible.
She sighed, content to sit back and be comforted in his loving arms. Tad, she knew now was nothing like Dennis he was a fun loving person always clowning about and making her laugh because he enjoyed life and was teaching her to enjoy it too.