...so last we heard, Mary was talking to Tony and Amanda. She was also going to call Allan to tell him that his services were no longer needed. Mary guessed that it would not go well. She was right. Evidently, Allan yelled at her so loud that someone walking past her office could hear him shouting over her head-set. She finally just pushed "speaker" so everyone in the office could hear the horrifying things that were coming out of his mouth. She said she'd never seen that side of Allan before and could see what Kelly was talking about. She gave us permission to move Kelly out of her apartment in Topeka. Allan threatened that it was illegal to remove her. Mary assured us it wasn't. Ryan and I found an extended stay hotel that would rent a studio room for $179 per week. We booked it over the phone.
It started to rain.
At 5:00, I called Kelly to tell her the good news. We were coming to get her. She answered the phone and immediately started telling me some rambling story about how the maintenance man just called her and asked if she'd told everyone in the building that he was a child molester. I said, "please don't worry another minute about that. Ryan and I are coming to get you. We are moving you out TONIGHT." Again with the long, rambling story about the maintenance man and how he just called to tell her that he said, she said that he's a child molester. "Please don't worry about that right now. Just pack up everything in your room that you want to take with you. Ryan and I got you a place in Kansas City and we are on our way. We will be there in 45 minutes."
"Oh mah gawd? Are you serius? Becuz ah can'even concentrait righ'now...ah'm jus so freaked out by this maintenance man - "
"I'm totally serious. Just pack up whatever you want to take. You're moving out tonight."
"Oh mah gawd...okay...all jus put ever'thin in the shoppin cart ah saw downstairs."
"Okay...I'll call you when we're getting close."
"You're welcome. See you soon."
I got in the car and decided to just go directly to the extended stay place and check her in. I told them the whole situation and how we were paying for someone else to live there. They said I needed to get her driver's licence swiped when she came in. I called Ryan. "Does she have a driver's licence? I don't even know if she knows how to drive."
"She would have to. They wouldn't have let her on the plane without one."
It was about 6:00. My phone rang. It was Kelly.
"Are y'all close? Ah jus got a call from the maintenance man sayin he was gonna send his girlfren up here and she was gonna give me a piece of her mine!!! This whole bildin' wants tah KILL me!"
"Please, just lock your door. Don't answer your phone. Don't answer your door. We will be there soon. I decided to check you in early to the hotel so we wouldn't have to do it tonight. You have a room. You're all checked in."
"Oh mah gawd...becuz this whole place wants to kill me now an ah thawt you'd be here by now an ah have all my stuff in a shopping cart outsahd mah room. Ah have like 4 tuns uv stuff."
"Oh...I'm so sorry. It's raining here and traffic is moving really slow and I thought it would be best to check you in so we didn't have to do it tonight. We are on our way. Just stay in your room. Don't answer your door. Don't answer your room phone. We will call you on your cell."
I called my sister to tell her what was going on. In the background, I could hear my brother-in-law, "Do they need any help?"
"Thanks. I don't think so. We're just going to pick up her stuff. But now she thinks everyone in the building wants to kill her."
"I know. We're dealing with a crazy person. There's no other way to put it. We have no idea who to believe. The attorney said she seeks out this maintenance guy. She says he stalks her. She told Peggy that he comes in her room whenever he wants and it's not okay because she has a child. Peggy probably thought she was implying he's a child molester. Peggy probably told the management company and they probably confronted him. Then he confronted her and now she thinks his girlfriend wants to beat her up."
"Geez. Troy says you can call the police if anything gets crazy."
"I know. I don't think we'll have any trouble. But it's seriously insane. We just have to get there and bring her back to Kansas City. We have a room for her. It's nice. It's clean. Lindsay is helping us find some apartments again (THANK YOU LINDSAY!!!!) and everything should calm down once we can get her in to a place with a pool - close to a playground."
"Does she have a lot of stuff?"
"No. When we saw her room, she had like 1 duffel bag. But I don't know. She just said she had 4 tons of stuff. She probably has groceries and stuff...you know what...it may not be a bad idea. Would he seriously mind?"
"(to Troy) Now she thinks it might not be a bad idea. Do you mind going with them to Topeka? (back to me) He doesn't mind. He'll have to clean out my car, but how soon are you leaving?"
"As soon as I get home. Ryan is picking up a comforter and the car seat from mom and dad's. We're just going to give her our Queen comforter. Mom threw it in the dryer to make it all fluffy. But as soon as we get home, we're headed to Topeka."
We made arrangements to meet Troy along 435 somewhere and he basically fell in behind us. We called Ryan's parents and brother along the way, explaining what was going on. While we were talking to Ryan's parents, I got another message from Amanda. This time she was begging me to call her back. She said she'd just gotten off the phone with Kelly who was curled in a corner in her room because everyone in the building was coming after her and she didn't want to get off the phone in case she needed a witness. And Kelly is almost out of minutes because she was on the phone so long. And would I PLEASE call her back once Kelly and Sophie were safe.
How is this my life?
We finally got to Topeka and we found Taber Arms. We pulled in to the parking lot and there was a truck backed in to a spot where 8-9 people were sitting around "tailgating", smoking and drinking in lawn chairs. Awesome.
Troy got out of his car and walked over to ours. We walked up to the building together. We tried the door. It was locked. I called Kelly. It went right to voice mail. Awesome. So now she's out of minutes and there's no way to get ahold of her. Meanwhile, the little tailgating group started to notice us. I called Taber Arms and used the room code. It rang and rang. Finally, "yes?"
"Hi Kelly, it's Ashley. We're here, but we can't get in."
"Oh...ummm...ah'll...ummm...ah'll just be down in a second."
A guy yelled over from the tailgating group.
"You try the bell?"
(Troy) "Oh...no...we're calling someone. She'll be right down."
"Cuz the bell don't wurk."
(laughing) "So I guess we would have been here a while."
End of conversation with the tailgaters. Time to focus on business. I started taking pictures of the parking lot and the outside of the building. Our goal was to get some photos of the inside of her apartment for Mary. Proof of how bad it was. Sophie and Kelly were at the door. "Ashley. They're here! We're going in!" I ran back over to the entrance and followed them up. The hallway looked different, but not better. It still smelled like a pool hall or a dingy bar in a casino. The elevator stunk. The hallway stunk. We turned the corner and sure enough, she'd packed all of her belongings in a cart in the hallway.
"Ah wuz so scared y'all. Those people out there wanna kill me. Ah jus cu'dn't git outa here fast enuf."
"Well...do you care if I take some pictures inside the apartment? I wanted to document it for Mary."
(trying the door) "Oh...shoot. Ah jus locked the door. Ah don' have mah key. Ah wuz so ek-sited when ah herd y'all wuz here, ah jus shut the door with mah key inside."
"Oh. Shoot. Well. That's okay. Um...let's get your stuff then."
Ryan pushed the shopping cart and Troy picked up a duffel bag. I found some sort of laundry hamper that had wet clothes in it. We all fit in the elevator. We headed outside and Kelly said, "Those are the folks who wanna kill me. Ahm gonna hurry. C'mon baby, less'go." as she led Sophie across the parking lot to our car. Head down and determined to get out of there as fast as we could, we fit her clothes, her comforter and her bags in to our car. The grocery cart went to Troy's car and we quickly noticed there were eggs, milk, and "spoilable" items that might not make the hour and a half car ride. Plus, who knows how long they'd been in her hallway in the shopping cart.
"You want me to go to one of those gas stations and pick up a cooler with some ice for that stuff?"
"Oh my gosh...I think that would be great Troy. Thank you so much."
"No problem. I'll just catch up with you guys."
"Well, yeah. Ryan and I haven't eaten dinner yet, so we were thinking we'd stop at one of those rest stops along the highway."
"Alright...I'll just catch up with you then."
"Awesome. Thanks, Troy!"
The car ride went great. Once we got Kelly off the subject of those people wanting to kill her, she talked about Sophie and how she'd poured a whole bottle of lotion in her hair and how she's just a rotten child. She talked about how she wanted to go to the doctor and how she was still waiting to hear back about her appointment. How she hadn't filled out the medicaid card because she just knew she wasn't gonna stay at that horrible place. Somehow, she just knew it. So she has the paperwork in her bag somewhere, but she just threw everything in her bag and she didn't know where it was, but she would find it and we could send it in. She talked about how they grew up on Amanda's farm and Sophie's only ever known what it was like to run and play on this farm, but when Amanda bought the apartment she's in now, there wasn't enough room for her and Sophie. She talked about how she has no intentions of staying in Kansas after the baby is born - no offense to Kansas - she just wanted this part of her life to be over. She wanted to be knocked out for the next 3 months. Just have the baby and go home. She didn't want to hear the heartbeat and she hoped we understood.
We made it to the first rest-stop and Kelly said they'd just wait in the car while Ryan and I ran in to get some food. Then we offered to bring back some drinks or some ice cream for Sophie.
"Do you like ice cream?"
(her eyes got all big as she nodded)
"Do you like chocolate ice cream or vanilla ice cream?"
"I like BOTH those kinds!"
In my mind, I was feeling like we should turn the car off - not that I thought they would steal our car, but the thought crossed my mind. So we turned off the car and locked the doors (so nobody else could jump in and steal it?)
As we ordered our food and got Sophie her ice cream, I began to think about how much better this felt. We were directly involved now with the woman carrying our baby. We could help her when she needed help. We could take her to the doctor and have some control over what happened next. We got back in the car and Kelly explained that she made the alarm go off. They were trying to get out so Sophie could use the bathroom and the alarm went off.
"Oh, I'm sorry! Do you need to go to the bathroom, sweetie?"
"Yeah! I gotta poop!"
Kelly just laughed and tried her best to get her out of her carseat. Ryan went around the back to help. They ran in and my phone rang. It was Troy. He'd had a lot of trouble finding the cooler so he finally found a Wal-Mart and was just getting to the check-out.
"Oh, my gosh. Well...thank you for doing that. Kelly is in the rest-stop right now because Sophie had to poop."
"Okay...I'll probably be somewhere behind you guys, but don't wait on me."
I explained where the place was we were taking them and Troy knew it right away. Kelly and Sophie got back in the car and Kelly told us it was a wasted stop. She didn't really have to go. We relayed the story about Delaney "crying wolf" with regard to potty breaks until the day she peed right on the patio at Johnny's. It happens. And it's hard to know when they're really serious. It's not worth the risk.
Five minutes later, Sophie announced that she had to go pee. She was starting to whimper.
"That's okay! We can stop! There's another rest-stop up here and there isn't another one for several miles, so it's best if we just stop here. Just in case."
As they ran inside, I called and texted some friends about how and where I could get Kelly in for a sonogram. Would any of our nurse friends do it? How much does it cost to walk in without insurance? nothing seemed promising, but I wasn't going to give up. I was dying to know what she was carrying. Is our baby a boy or a girl?
My phone rang again. It was Troy.
"Hey...can they hear me right now?"
"So I'm not on speaker-phone?"
"Did Sophie have any toys that you could see?"
"Do you know if she had any pajamas."
"I don't think so, but I have no idea."
"Well...I'm just gonna stop by our house on the way. I can think of a couple things we can just give her to play with. Do you have any idea what size pajamas she wears?"
"I don't...(trying not to say anything about how Sophie is bigger than Delaney)"
"Well...I'll be a ways behind you guys, but I'm just gonna call Whitney and see if she can put a bag together. I know there's some stuff in the basement we've never even opened."
"Oh Troy...that's awesome! Thank you so much!"
"You're welcome. I'll see you guys later."
I couldn't even tell Ryan what just happened without giving away the surprise, but my whole heart felt happy. This is what it was supposed to feel like. My family was pulling together to help out this sweet little girl and her mom. They were in a situation that was unfortunate. We knew we could help.
We finally got to the place (it was almost 10:30) and we had to dial a special number so the office manager could come swipe Kelly's driver's licence. Kelly, Sophie and I went upstairs while Ryan loaded all of her stuff on a luggage cart. I was so excited to show them their new room. It was clean. It had everything they needed. I turned the tv on and asked Kelly if she liked certain movies because I was thinking we could get her a VCR in her new apartment and just load her up with all kinds of movies. She thought that sounded great.
As we went out in to the hallway to go help Ryan, he was already coming down the hall with all of their stuff. Sophie thought that was pretty cool. She'd never seen a luggage cart before. We got all of their stuff unloaded and told them we'd wait downstairs for Troy. That's when I finally told Ryan what was going on. Troy was going to surprise Sophie with a whole bag full of toys.
We were waiting there for a while so I started texting some friends - updating them on what was going on. We were already getting offers for couches, chairs, TVs, dishes, pots/pans for Kelly's new apartment; snacks, clothes and toys for Sophie...anything we needed...friends were willing to donate. It was awesome.
Then I had to pee.
I looked around the hallway and the only restroom was locked. I didn't want to go in Kelly's new room, so I decided to take the car down to the QT on the corner. By the time I got back, Troy was already pulling out of the parking lot. I'd missed it. I stopped him.
"So...was it worth it?"
"Oh my gosh. Just seeing her face light up when she saw those toys...it was ALL worth it!"
"I was thinking it might be fun, now that you've met her...if you want to introduce her to Delaney? I thought they'd have fun playing together."
"You know...I was thinking that too. If she needs a break, I could just bring Sophie over to our house. She could jump on the trampoline. She even looks like she might be the kind of kid who enjoys sandboxes."
"...or Deanna Rose?"
"You know...I hadn't thought of that. That's a great idea."
"Well. Thank you so much, Troy! You've been awesome."
"You're very welcome. It was so worth it."
I got to the entrance and called up to Ryan to let me in. His phone went to voicemail and I was stuck in the airlock thingy without any way of getting in touch with anyone. I was missing sweet little Sophie, playing with all of her new toys! Just then, a girl walked in (carrying a yoga mat) and heard me leaving my message for Ryan to just come down and let me in. She held the door open for me and I thanked her - trying not to be too chatty or creepy or needlessly "explainey".
I got to the room and knocked on the door. I could hear Ryan explaining how the phone worked. I knocked. Nothing. I knocked again. Nothing. I knocked every time I heard Ryan's voice stop. Finally the door opened. Sophie's eyes were huge and I held my hands out.
"Whad'ya think? Do you love your new toys? Show me what Troy brought you!!!"
She ran over to her big bag and lifted out the Play-doh kitchen. It was almost too heavy for her to lift. Then she showed me the Toy Story Yahtzee game and I heard Kelly say, "Y'all are too much. You need to jus git outa here and go back to yur lives, ah know you've got wurk in the mornin'."
We bid them good night and walked out of there feeling so good about ourselves. We slept well that night and we bragged about ourselves all afternoon the next day. How great were we? We did the right thing.
Or so we thought...