"Stop it Matthew!" Margaret screamed as she ducked behind a doorway; a plate crashing only inches away from her face. Matthew steadily walked towards her as she shook in terror. Margaret quickly glanced around the room searching for Nicole. She spotted the hem of her daughter's dress behind the couch and she breathed a sigh of relief; he wouldn't find her there. Matthew shoved her forcefully towards the bedroom while Margaret pathetically protested. Each cry being silenced with the back of his hand.
"You're my wife and you will be here when I am home!" he shouted loudly. Margaret desperately wished that she hadn't decided to go over to Stacy's. She had been gone longer than expected and when she arrived home she found that her husband had gotten home from work early and he was in a horrible mood; Margaret could easily smell the whiskey on his breath.
An hour later Margaret lay sobbing on their small bed while Matthew dressed himself. He dug around in her purse and found a few crumpled bills and stormed out of the house. Margaret wearily pulled herself off of the bed and slipped on her dress.
"Dirty old thing," She muttered. She sighed as she looked at herself in the mirror. She hated how her life had turned out. When she was younger there was so much that she had wanted from life and now every hope she ever had was broken into a million pieces.
Impulsively she pulled her other three dresses out of the closet and headed for the kitchen. She shoved the clothing into a paper bag.
"Nicole!" she shouted. "Nicole; run and get your things from your bedroom."
The small child quickly climbed out from behind the couch to do as her mother asked. She returned in a few short moments with her arms full of clothing. Margaret placed them in another bag and told Nicole to quickly get their coats. Nicole ran to get them and looked at her mother questioningly as she handed the larger one to her.
"Are we leaving mommy?"
Margaret was scared to death and she tried her hardest to appear calm. "Yes baby; we're leaving." Nicole smiled encouragingly.
"It'll be okay mommy. Maybe we can even get a new house with a tree!"
Margaret smiled and stroked her daughter's cheek. "Maybe," she said hopefully. "Come; we have to hurry." Margaret reached for her daughter's hand but Nicole stepped backwards and headed for her bedroom.
"I'll be right back!" she yelled.
Margaret sighed impatiently and waited fro Nicole. The eight year old soon returned with a small shoebox under one arm. Margaret smiled as she recognized it as her daughter's "treasures". It contained a paper flower given to her by Margaret's father before he died. It also held several pictures; mostly of Margaret and some of Hawkeye. And beside several childish mementos the box contained her wedding ring. Not Matthew's…Hawkeye's.
Margaret quickly led Nicole to the bus stop; nervously watching for any sign of Matthew. She certainly didn't want to run into him here. The two boarded the bus and Margaret tried to ignore the stares she was receiving as a result of her rapidly developing bruises. A half hour later the bus arrived at the train station and Margaret dragged Nicole towards the front counter.
"Two tickets to Augusta, Maine please." She requested. The man handed her two tickets as she rummaged for money in her purse; praying that she had enough. Margaret began to blush as she realized that she didn't have enough money. She handed the tickets back and began to pick up the crumpled bills on the counter.
"Excuse me ma'm; I believed you dropped this."
Margaret turned and saw an elderly man stooped down; picking up two fifty dollar bills.
Margaret blushed furiously and shook her head. She hated accepting charity. "No you're mistaken, I didn't drop those." She said coldly. However the man persisted; pressing the bills into her hand.
"Well they certainly aren't mine; take them dear."
Margaret sighed and looked at Nicole. She swallowed her pride and accepted the gift thankfully.
Two hours later Margaret and Nicole dropped down onto their seats; both exhausted. As the train started to pull away from the station Nicole spoke for the first time in hours.
"Why are we going to Maine?" Margaret smiled and pulled her daughter's blonde hair away from her face.
"Your father is from Maine." She replied. Nicole nodded; still unsure of how that tied into them going there.
Nicole was actually very excited. She had never been outside of North Carolina in her entire life. Well her mother told her that she was born in Maine but she didn't remember anything from there. She hated her life and was happy that everything was going to change. Her childish dreams anticipated everything being just perfect, her optimistic mind ruled out any other possibility.