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Privilege- Chapter Eight: Knowing Wins the Battle

"My God, the morning is beautiful," Addy thought as she got ready for work. The sun was shining through her window as she dabbed on her moisturizer. She could not remember the last time that she was so cheerful to do anything, even if it was having business lunches back-to-back with investors. The company she was partnered with was an up-and-coming conglomerate. She was their honey pot, there to use her charm to encourage mergers all with a company credit card at her disposal. The head hunters had done a good job, and Emmet's money had been well spent to get her in the door. Her life was selling an image, a vacation in one of the most amazing cities in the world to millionaires. She relished this idea as she now instead of faking smiles all day, tried to repress girlish giddy glee from escaping her tone too often or risk being labeled immature. Her routine was a joyful one as she practiced her Portuguese while styling her hair in her mirror and sipping her delicious pingado. It had only been a few months but she was starting to be able to put together a few phases, enough at least to get around comfortably.

She hadn't spoken to Emmet since their flight on the charter plane those months ago. Addy hadn't felt like speaking that night for obvious reasons. She had pulled her ballcap down and slept on the flight. Emmet was normally one to criticize her for being informal even among staff, but he had fallen asleep after his night assisting the locals. They parted without so much as a hug goodbye. He was in a hurry to go to his office and Addy was in a daze. She did not go back to their house that day. Instead, she went to Frances's condo which was in the process of being packed up. It never felt right how Emmet favored Frances over his wife. Addy had money that Emmet allowed her, which was heavily monitored by himself in addition to their accountant. Addy could only ever buy clothes, make-up, and spa treatments. This was crippling to Addy who wanted to travel or start her own business, really anything other than sitting at home all day. Emmet never faltered in using his money to oppress and control his wife. Yet Frances had her condo, her graduate school degree, and her stipend that Emmet funneled to her with no questions asked.

Addy had never been inside of Frances's condo before. Emmet was very gruff about the details of the matter. She had only been in the parking lot once after she had to drive the unconscious Frances there when she had one too many drinks at the country club years ago. Inside it was nothing as she had expected. Addy anticipated the place to be cheaply furnished as any unemployed college kid would have or it to be a true mess inside. The reality of it was quite different. Addy saw that it was perfectly manicured, indicating to Addy that Emmet had probably hired a maid service because Frances was a natural slob who had to be reminded by her mother to brush her teeth or pick up her menstruation-soiled panties off the floor far too often when they were younger living at the family home.

The condo was fabulously decorated, full of expensive appliances and furnishings. Addy walked around the place in awe of the pictures of Frances's travels in different countries. Frances had lived a pampered life while looking down on Addy for being trapped in her marriage. Some of the pictures were of her with Emmet, some were of Frances with other people Addy had never seen before. As she wandered the place of her now-deceased sister, Addy found a journal on Frances's desk and more in her closet. In them, she spent the night reading all of the details of Frances's sorted little life from the time of Addy's wedding to Emmet until the week before she went to the cabin that final time. Frances was at least careful enough to never have brought the journals with her to the cabin because Addy would have surely leafed through it had she noticed them.

These diaries explained how Frances was crushed by her parents cutting her off to pay for Addy's wedding. It later outlined how Emmet had found her crying in the pantry and that was how she lost her virginity. Addy didn't want to believe what she was reading, but Frances described Emmet in perfect detail. Addy couldn't put the books down as she found out that Frances had also joined Emmet at a nearby hotel two days into their honeymoon. He paid for hookers that Frances joined him with each night. This resulted in a pregnancy and abortion that was hidden from the family by Emmet sending Frances to grad school. The true reason that Emmet did not want children was that he had a genetic trait that made him highly likely to pass Dandy-Walker Syndrome to his offspring and that he had a vasectomy to prevent a pregnancy from happening again. Addy frantically read the pages each one containing another secret. Emmet wanted Addy to wear such heavy make-up and sexualized clothing so that Frances would look like the more "sophisticated sister." This came after Frances heard herself being referred to as the "ugly sister" and Emmet wanted to appease his mistress. Addy had never known that Frances was pulling the strings of misery in her life for so long or that Emmet was so enamored with her Frances. Frances's love for Emmet turned into hate toward Addy during their affair after Emmet refused to leave Addy. Frances noted Addy's depression and hoped that she would kill herself for Emmet to no longer have an excuse not to be with her publicly. Addy realized this was why Frances was so interested in spending time with her at the club, to antagonize her in her hour of need.

Frances rationalized this deceit in her journal by writing that Addy deserved it because she did not appreciate what she had. "Addy once again being overly dramatic cried because Emmet gave her a $4,00 dress, what an ingrateful bitch." Addy remembered that day that Frances had documented as an outsider. She had to go to an event for Emmet and had a fever of one hundred and two degrees, but Emmet grabbed her by the back of her head and pulled her out of bed by her hair, then he threw the dress at her. It was two sizes too small and Addy had to duct tape herself into it and could not sit all night because it would have ripped. She spent seven hours standing and hiding her hands because she was shaking from fear of being found out that she was so ill. If Emmet had lost face he would have been even crueler to her after, which he was anyway. There was no hoop to jump through or boot to lick that was enough for Emmet, he hated Addy because he was married to her and he wanted to be married to Frances who e felt was too unattractive for him to show to the world as his partner. He wanted Frances but was too focused on his public image to show her before he finished her cosmetic transformation, or at least Frances thought so when Addy was still living in their house in the city.

France's final entry made the most sense to Addy. She had planned to move on from Emmet because Emmet was dating another younger woman from Addy's old sorority, likely the person Mary had told Addy of when she saw her last at the club. Frances assumed that Emmett would leave Addy and marry her when all of her surgeries were completed. However, Emmet's skill did not go as far as he would have liked and he had tired of Frances by then. Addy felt so much anger and seemingly odd pinches of pity for Frances while reading all of Frances's treacherous behavior.

She paused to get a drink from Frances's designer liquor cabinet, but she became distracted when she found the documents for the condo in Brazil. It was dated for Frances to move in within forty-six hours. Addy wondered if Frances had been lying when she said that she needed to stay in the cabin when it was to spend a little more time with Emmet, whom she was still hopelessly in love with. There was a plane ticket on France's kitchen table along with a time for movers to take her things to a storage unit scheduled. Addy, not one to linger any longer than she had to, took Frances's winter clothes out of her bag and replaced them with some summer things she found in Frances's closet. She almost ripped up the diaries but opted to keep them. Addy was meticulous in her effort to begin her day by picking up where Frances had left off in her latest journal carefully using tracing techniques to fill out the following day in Frances's handwriting explaining how Emmet had told her that they would be together "soon." Of course, written from Frances's perspective that included a paragraph about an injured hand that occurred when she closed her index finger in the SUV's door after she had dumped Emmet, which hasn't been healing well making it hard to write. From then on Addy would only write in Portuguese in her journals, to help her become fully bilingual.

That was then though. Addy remembered getting on the plane wearing something tacky that Frances would pick out for herself. Addy felt that Frances was about to have a major self-renaissance in Brazil, one that involved her cutting off Emmet which would be detailed in her journal periodically. As for Emmet, Addy sent him an email saying that she had found someone new, obviously from Frances's account, who always used the same passcode for everything since middle school which was written down all over her condo because she still could not remember it.

A few police officers stopped by not too long after Addy arrived in Brazil. They wanted to know what happened at the cabin the last night she was there with Emmet and "Addy." Taking the biggest risk of her life and did not correct the officers when they mistook her for Frances. She lied by saying that she was at the bar like always, that she had sex with a man named Rob in the SUV she borrowed from Addy who said she had to "talk to Emmet about something private." Finally, she added that Emmet was late for the charter flight but that he smelled like he had "burned some stuff in the fireplace." A few weeks after that Emmet died in police custody. He had had a heart attack after being arrested for the murder of Adeline Taylor, thus closing the case. Addy laughed at this a little, but not for too long, she had her own life to enjoy from that day forward.


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