Mr Big I Am supplied Laura with weekends in the city, expensive hotels, Vip tickets to night clubs, a taxi on account: to take a princess out, to bring her home. A fistful of money pressed into Her smaller, eager hand. Champagne lifestyle. Laura loved this lifestyle, oh how she loved it.
Laura did not see the champagne lifestyle as a ploy to snare and nail her heart. She did not know women before, women who would follow, enjoyed the same treatment. Laura assumed she was the only one.
Both our daughters were to be married that year, now only one. Laura was chief bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding. Laura smiled for the camera, stood in line when asked. But her face, her demeanour? Not happy. She drank wine at the head table, not too much to my relief. Mr Big I Am reluctantly attended the wedding. He arrived in his flash car, wearing a designer suit, a heavy gold watch. He would not mingle or raise a glass. He encouraged Laura to leave the celebrations, leave before the cake was cut, retire to their hotel suite.
We thought we understood: difficult for Laura who lost her wedding only six months ago.
We understood nothing. Mr Big I Am had a distaste for our family of life, the close bond we shared. He had a plan to break that unit.
A plan was in action to isolate Laura.