Ella walked over to her closet and opened it. She flicked through outfit after outfit, until she got to the perfect dress. She knew that she didn’t want to be seen as a scared little girl when she walked into the room where her Mother inevitably was. She wanted to look like a confident woman. Ella pulled out a flared dress with bright pink and green splashes all over it.
She pulled the dress on and smiled as she looked in mirror. The dress had a pretty sweetheart neckline and sleeves that rested on her shoulders. Ella twirled around, and then reminded herself that today she was to be a responsible grown up. Not to mention, she had to remember that the day could end up with another court case. The honk of a car horn caused Ella to jump.
She grabbed her purse and her put on her small black heels as she ran downstairs. When Ella jumped into the car, Jimmy’s jaw dropped. “You look um- That’s a nice dress.” Jimmy stuttered and turned his attention back to driving. “To Toronto we go!” Jimmy exclaimed. “Well, as it turns out we don’t have to go all the way to Toronto.” Ella said cautiously. “Really, where do we have to go?”
“We have to go about two hours past there.” Ella said quietly. Jimmy sighed heavily. After about half an hour of silence, Jimmy finally asked, “Why do you have to go all the way back home?” Ella shrugged. “I don’t know. And that place is not my home.”
After what seemed like only 20 minutes, Jimmy had pulled up to the front of the court house. “Don’t let you Mother get under your skin.” He said. “I won’t,” Ella said, “I’m just here to get the money and leave.” It was true. Ella knew before she had left, that she would let her Mother take the money if she had to. She wanted nothing more to do with that woman.
Ella walked confidently through the huge doors and into the hallway. Her nose scrunched up as the overwhelming smell of bleach surrounded her. The sound of her heels echoed through the hollow hallway as she made her way down to Mr. Lawrence’s office. When she reached the door, she knocked gingerly until Mr. Lawrence appeared in the doorframe.
“Ella- I mean Ms. Maclain, I’m so glad you’re here!” Mr. Lawrence beamed at her and ushered her in. Ella smiled thinly and walked in. Ella smiled to herself. At least he’s thinking of me as an adult now. Ella’s smile disappeared as she saw the familiar brown bob sitting in the chair opposite of Mr. Lawrence’s desk. Her frown deepened as she saw that the seat beside her was the only one available.
Sheila Maclain straightened up in her seat as Ella sat down beside her. “I suppose you’re wondering why you are here, Ms. Maclain.” Mr. Lawrence said. “Yes, I am.” Ella replied, not looking at her Mother once. “Your Mother came to me a few days ago to confess to me.” Ella’s eyes got wider. My Mother confessing to her wrong doing, surely not… Ella looked over at the woman sitting beside her.
Her Mother glanced at her, and then went back to fiddling with her purse strings. “Now that she has confessed, your Mother could go to prison for a number of things, including destruction of property.” Mr. Lawrence explained. Ella kept her eyes on her Mother. “No, this is some sort of sick joke. You’ve got something up your sleeve, I know it!” Ella shouted. Mrs. Maclain let silent tears fall down her cheeks. Ella sprung up. “OH, fake tears I’ve never seen that one before.” She said. “I’m truly sorry, Ella.” Mrs. Maclain said, looking up at her daughter. “All we need is a statement and a testimony from you, Ella.” Mr. Lawrence interjected.
“Stop it, make her stop it!” Ella screamed as her Mother continued to cry. “Ella, I can’t live with this guilt anymore. Just send me to where I deserve to be. I can’t live like this.” Mrs. Maclain tried to grab Ella’s hand, but Ella ran out of the room. She burst into the bathroom and locked the door. Why was this so difficult for her? Her Mother didn’t want the money; no she wanted justice for herself. Ella was prepared for the opposite situation.
She was all ready to fight for her money. Ella stared at her reflection in the mirror for a while. She finally grabbed some toilet paper and dried her eyes. Ella finally unlocked the door and walked back out into the hallway. When she got back into Mr. Lawrence’s office, no one had moved. Mr. Lawrence motioned for her to sit down, but Ella ignored it.
“I won’t testify or make a statement about anything.” Ella stated. Mr. Lawrence looked confused. “Why won’t you?” Her Mother asked, turning around and showing off her running mascara. Ella breathed in deeply.
“I left because I felt unloved, and not good enough to live in your family. I thought of all things, you would be happy to be rid of me. So when that whole court case happened, I felt like I would never escape. And, even though my house burned down, and I was pretty down for a while, I still got back up. Now I’m starting my real life with my real family. Any moment more I spend with you is a moment I’m losing with people I care about.”
Mrs. Maclain gulped. “Don’t you want me behind bars?” She asked. “Not really. I think a worse punishment is for you not to get the justice you deserve. The guilt is much worse, if you ask me.” Ella said simply. “Now Mr. Lawrence, where is my money?” Ella asked, hand on hip. Mr. Lawrence looked startled at the turn of events. Not that you could blame him.
Mr. Lawrence opened his desk drawer and handed Ella a small envelope. “The cheque is in there.” He said. Ella nodded, and strode out of the room, feeling more confident than ever. She smiled as she walked down the long hallway towards the front door. She was quickly stopped by Mr. Simms. He looked even more nervous than the last time she had seen him. “There’s something I have to tell you about Jimmy…”
Ella hopped into the car and closed the door. “What happened?” Jimmy asked. “Not a whole lot. I got my money though.” Ella said, waving the envelope. She leaned her head against the window. “That’s great, I thought for a minute there that your Mother was going to try something.” Jimmy sighed. “I ran into Mr. Simms.” Ella said. “He told me everything.” Jimmy looked over suspiciously.
“What do you mean?” Jimmy asked, as if he didn’t know. Ella just smiled. Jimmy went back to staring at the steering wheel. “You’re a good man, Jimmy Maclain.” Ella said sarcastically. Jimmy laughed at the reference from over six months ago. He looked over at her. Ella leaned over quickly and kissed him, just as quickly returning to her position with her head against the window. Jimmy’s eyes danced around the car. He cleared his throat. “So um… What do we do now?” He stuttered. Ella smiled and shrugged.
“I think it’s about time we get back to our real lives.”