Stopping at the hotel desk I asked the clerk to send someone to find Mr. Powell’s children and have them sent to their room immediately. I grabbed a note pad and scribbled out a quick note then stuffing into an envelope to be delivered to Natashia.
The TV’s behind the reception desk had helicopter views of a big warehouse fire bringing a smile to my face, I ushered the girls to our room.
“Girls go pack now, get everything ready to go, we must leave”.
Shelly began to cry, Sam held her close, tears streaming down her own face. “I miss my mommy”, Shelly whined as her crying escalated.
Sam also broke down. I pulled them close and held them, rocking them, trying my best to comfort them.
“I will send you home babies. I love you so very much, more than enough to let you go”, I said.
They squeezed me tighter, both telling me how much they loved me and would miss me but it was obvious they needed home and the childhood safety of it.
The room door came open as Alicia, Tawny, and Zachary came in. I hushed my girls and told them to go pack as I asked.
“What’s wrong, where’s dad”, Zachary started.
“Sit down”, I asked them.
“No, where’s dad”?
I sternly looked at Zachary, “All three of you sit down now”.
“Yes Uncle”, Alicia answered.
They were used to commands. Something triggered obedience within them as they fell in line and sat across from me on the sofa. I began laying out a tale of fantastic proportion about betrayal and my retribution on the men that killed their father, of how he pleaded with me to care for them as I would as blood, as family.
The girls bawled, and whaled terribly. Zachary sat stunned, a white blank expression on his face. The girls leaped up and ran into my arms sobbing and crying for their loss. My heart went out to them.
“Zachary. Zachary, are you alright”?
He just nodded.
“I need you to help. Go pack everything that’s important first, and then help organize your sisters. We need to leave within the hour. We can grieve later but we must get on task now”.
“Yes sir”, he answered and went at it efficiently.
“Alicia, Tawny, my dears, you will need to put away your grief babies. We have to go, I have to make sure you are safe and I trust no one here. Can you do that for me? Can you go pack and get ready to go”?
Wiping their faces they both nodded and went to help their brother, just then a light knock came at the door.
I whispered, “Go”, signaling to the girls to go.
As they went down the hall, I chambered a round in my gun and peeked through the spyhole of the door, “Natashia”.
I opened the door bringing her in.
“What’s this mean, you have to leave”, she asked.
I quickly ran down the story version I told the kids, she just nodded, asked no questions, completely accepted and then offered a temporary solution.
Natashia began telling me she owned some property down near the Gulf of Mexico and we could go there and make plans to leave the country for a while. She gave me a key and the security codes telling me she would start packing and follow us as soon as she could.
“No, sweetheart, I think it best if you stayed your planned time here. It might draw attention if you suddenly left, I will wait for you at your home. When was your scheduled time to leave”, I asked.
“Two days, the Pageant ends tonight and I pack and leave the day after tomorrow”, she explained.
I told her that was perfect and to stick with her plans, kissed her and headed her for the door.
The sun was coming up as I pulled into Dallas, the kids were all asleep. I went straight to the airport and acquired two first class tickets for Shelly and Sam, then bought them each $500 prepaid Visa cards for incidentals and a prepaid cell phone so they could call when they arrived.
When I got back to the car Shelly and Sam were in tears not wanting to go but we all knew they needed to and deep down that’s what they really wanted. Our goodbye was long and tortuous. I lost a piece of me that day, as we made plans to somehow see each other again someday.
I drove up to the drop off point and paid a porter $200 to see them all the way to the plane. They hugged my neck so tightly.
“I love you daddy and will miss you forever”, Shelly cried.
“I love you too honey”, I kissed her lightly on the cheek, her little hand stuffed something into my pocket then Sam did the same as she gave me another squeeze.
“I love you daddy and will miss you forever too”, Sam added.
“I love you too dear heart. You and Shelly are my first true loves and will always treasure that”, as I kissed her lightly on her forehead. “Now it’s time to go, do as I said, and follow all my directions like good girls”.
They nodded and headed off with the porter waving and looking back with tear filled eyes.