In the meantime, Jill had been acting abusively towards Stephanie and Matt's young son, John. It seemed to be just little things for a while. Jill would ask if she could take John out to do things while Stephanie and Matt were out at work, and Stephanie would decline, saying that the baby needed to stay at home.
Little did she know that Matt was continuing to allow his mother to do these things with Stephanie's child without her permission. That was bad enough, but Jill was also treating John horribly, calling him names whenever he would misbehave in the smallest ways. Stephanie certainly didn't like it, but she knew that confronting the issue would start a huge fight with her husband, so she let it slide for a while. Until one day, Jill did something that Stephanie could not abide.
One day while Stephanie was at work and Jill was watching John, she hit him. She hit him so hard that it left a hand-print shaped bruise that lasted until Stephanie got home and welted. When Stephanie saw this, she knew that she had to do something, so she cut Jill out of John's life indefinitely. She forbade Jill from seeing John, and would no longer let Jill watch John while she and Matt were at work. After a few months, though, Matt began to take John to see Jill without telling Stephanie, going so far as to make up excuses for why they weren't at the house, leaving notes saying things like, "out to get ice cream!" or "gone to the park!" Stephanie finally found out when John mentioned to her that he was going to see "Nana," except Stephanie's parents didn't live in town.
In the months since Stephanie had last seen Jill, she had become a tattoo artist and had amassed quite a collection of body art. Importantly, she had also given Matt his first tattoo, initially keeping it pretty covert, but he had become pretty tatted up as well by this point. When Jill saw Stephanie, she freaked. She claimed that Stephanie was violating the lease again, and demanded that she leave the house without John or Matt. Matt attempted to rectify the situation by offering to rent Stephanie an apartment with the money his mother had been giving him. Stephanie hadn't even known that Matt's mother was supplementing his income, but now he was trying to use it justify kicking her out of the house?
Stephanie was rightly irate. She refused to leave the house without John, and eventually Jill relented, allowing her to live in the house with Matt. Though everything was tense for the next few months, things generally went OK... right up until they didn't.
Matt and Stephanie sat with Jill and her husband Dave around a fire while John ran around the yard playing at Jill's house. Jill had purchased John a huge jungle-gym style playset, and he absolutely loved it. So although Stephanie really didn't have any desire to socialize with Jill and she thought that Jill might be a bad influence on John, she thought that it would be best to just bite the bullet and allow him to play on the set. It's only a few hours visit, anyway, right?
The visit was going well. Jill had ordered takeout for the group, John was having fun, and the conversation was flowing without too many problems. Dave pulled out his phone and showed Stephanie a picture of a beautiful tattoo, asking her whether she thought she could recreate it. She said she wasn't sure, as the tattoo had a lot of complicated shading and was done by a master artist, but she would certainly be able to after she practiced on it for a while.
Jill, faced with the prospect of her daughter in law giving her husband a tattoo, must have been piqued. She glanced over and made a remark about how Stephanie was a bad influence. Stephanie wasn't too bothered; she took it in good fun. She quipped back, "Yeah, I guess it kind of comes with the territory. I mean, I do stab people for a living." Jill's response to the joke wasn't exactly what Stephanie was expecting, though.
END OF PART 2