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Strange noises woke Isabelle who was sleeping in a room on the second floor. She could hear muffled screaming coming from one of the rooms on the same floor. Very curious to know what was going on, she got up from her bed and, with a very insecure walk, she approached the door and opened it very carefully. The room where the voices and the screams were coming from, was the library, the room where her father was usually working. Slowly, as she was approaching the source of all the yelling, the voices became much clearer and she started to understand certain parts of the discussion that was happening. There was a loud thud as if someone inside was desperately fighting to get out of the room. It was still difficult to understand to whom the voices she heard belonged, Isabelle was still very far away, but she was sure that they were those of a man and a woman... The man had to be most certainly her father. The library was his ‘quiet place’; nobody except her obviously, had permission to enter, unless he was being present there.
The library’s door opened suddenly. The girl got scared and hid in the darkest corner of the corridor. The screaming was much louder now, so she sat on the hard floor, clutched her knees, pulled them to her chest and forbade herself to shout or to move. No one had to know that she was awake and she was ‘spying’ on her father.
“Andrew, I decided to go away, to leave you. I can no longer live in the same house as you. Here I'm feeling suffocated! Your very presence doesn’t let me breathe! Besides, our marriage has been falling apart for months and the only thing that you’re interested in at this moment is how to save your precious company.”
The women's voice she was hearing was… her mother’s, Michelle. Andrew Baldwin was her father, the person Isabelle loved most in her life. Isabelle wished to get up and go to them, but something, some invisible force, held her bolted to the floor. After a few seconds, she heard her father's voice. But it wasn’t the same voice filled with tenderness and love that he always had when they were talking about what had happened to her during the day at school or to him at work when they were going on their walks to the park enjoying a good ice cream, or when they were going out for dinner and theatre. His tone was totally changed...
"What the hell are you saying?" he shouted and the girl stepped away even further, disappearing into the darkness. “Tell me you're kidding, please! I am working day and night for you, for our daughter, to give you a good life without cares and fears. The company is our biggest source of income, you know it well. Thanks to our company, you have always had lots of money to travel to Paris or Milan thanks to our company, you could buy all the jewels you've always wanted. Being rich and being part of the high-society has been your dream since our first date. But to have all this, I have to work hard. I don't understand why you're complaining…- Andrew took her arm and pulled her strongly towards him. “Tell me what's really going on, Michelle! I can't believe you're doing this to me! Tonight, at dinner, you seemed very happy… as I hadn't seen you in months!”
"I was happy because I had finally decided to leave you, to go back on living all by myself without other responsibilities than taking care of myself!" his wife replied, trying to free herself from his grip. “Andrew, you're squeezing my arm too tight and you're hurting me. The two of us don't work anymore, you have to accept it and get over it!”
“Michelle, no couple is perfect, you know it as well as I do. Being in a marriage, taking care of a family, is a job that lasts a lifetime. There may be some misunderstandings between a husband and a wife. Do you have any idea of how many people are having the same problems? But they stay together and fight to get to the other side!”
“I don't care what happens to other people! Andrew, we don’t have anything else in common, except this house, a daughter, some friends and, occasionally, when you manage to drag yourself out of this room, our marital bed,” she added, still trying to free her arm from his grasp.
What was happening between her parents?! Why did her mother want to go away from them? Why did she want to leave her father? Isabelle told herself that she had to find a way to stop her, she had to make her mother understand the mistake she was about to make. She couldn't leave alone her father, not right now when he needed her so much. Michelle couldn’t abandon her, not at this age when she needed more than ever a female figure in her life. The young girl tried to get up again, but a ray of light showed Isabella her father's face and she stood there, completely frightened. His eyes were filled with rage and his hair was uncombed. He seemed out of his mind. She covered her mouth because she didn’t want to scream or to let her parents know that she was there. But she really wanted to run to them and try to put an end to their fight.
“I will never let you leave me and go away from this house! Have I made myself clear?” he said through his clenched teeth, treading every single word.