Maggie Twenty-Five years ago
Ring. Ring. Ring.
I race into the living room to answer the phone, “Hello,” I answer.
“Hi Maggie, it’s Professor Wilson. I’m in town and wanted to know if you can meet me at Sullivan’s Bakery in George Town. That’s close to your apartment, right?”
“Yes, it is. I can be there in about twenty minutes. Will that be okay?”
“Perfect, I’ll see you then,” Professor Wilson says before ending the call.
Twenty-five minutes later I walk into Sullivan’s Bakery. Stepping inside I see Professor Martin Wilson sitting in a booth in the back corner. His normally gelled brown hair is sticking every which way, like he’s been running his fingers through it. His eyes are sunken with large black bags under them like he hasn’t slept in weeks. He looks older than he did when he was my professor at Harvard. Sitting across from him I ask, “Professor, it’s good to see you again; what brings you to Washington?”
“You,” Martin answers swiftly. “I needed to tell you something important, and it has to be done in person.”
“What is it? Are you in trouble?”
Gathering his strength, Martin answers, “You need to leave Samuel. You need to pack your things and leave him now.”
“W-What? Why would I do that? Samuel is the love of my life. I’m not leaving him.”
Martin takes my hands in his, “Maggie, you are one of the few students I’ve had over the years I can call a friend. I would never jeopardize that, you have to believe me. I learned Samuel and his family are not what they appear to be.” Martin pulls a large manila envelope from his bag and hands it to me. “Open it.”
Opening the folder I find photos of Samuel and his father shaking hands with a well-known mafia boss and cartel leader, his mother is in the background. “What is this, Martin?”
“Like I said, Samuel and his family are not what they appear to be. My last client was accused of murder for hire. He told me he was part of a secret mafia family. This family isn’t your run of the mill mafia family; they run everything in the United States. They have members in every branch of the federal government and most state government; FBI, CIA, NSA, Secret Service, and the military. At first, I thought he was a crackpot, but then he gave me a key to a box at Grand Central Station, that is where I found the photos. Samuel and his parents are at the top of the organization; you need to leave him before you get in deep and can’t leave or something worse happens.”
My heart is pounding in my ears making it difficult to hear Martin. I can’t believe Samuel would be in the mob and not tell me. We tell each other everything, or at least that‘s what I thought. I can’t leave him, what about our plans for the future? What about-, “You don’t understand Martin, I can’t leave,” I say placing a hand to rest on my stomach. “I’m pregnant.”
Martin’s face goes ashen, his fear and worry showing on his face, “Maggie, you have to leave if not for your safety do it for your baby’s safety. Do you want your child to grow up in that kind of environment?”
He has a point. It is no longer just about me or what I want; it is about the baby growing inside me. How would I be able to protect him or her in that kind of environment? The only references I have for the mafia lifestyle are case studies from law school and The God Father movies. If they are lies, I still don’t want my child growing up like that, looking over their shoulder and never knowing what is coming for us. “How will I run? From what you say, they run everything and could find me in minutes.”
“I have a former client that can get you a new identity. Go home pack only what you need, one bag, and tell no one you are leaving. Meet me at Grand Central Station in one hour.”
“Where are we going?”
“I can’t tell you. The less you know the better.”
“I’m not sure about this, Martin. What if we are wrong, my child will grow up without a father. I don’t want that either.”
“I understand. But I would not be here if I wasn’t one hundred percent sure. Please go home and pack only what you need. I will be at Grand Central Station in an hour.”
“Thank you, Martin. You are a true friend,” I tell him before leaving the bakery.
Feeling paranoid, I hail a cab back to the apartment then race inside. Running around like a crazy woman, I find my important paperwork and sentimental items, my mother’s earrings, my grandfather’s watch, and the necklace Samuel gave me on our first month anniversary. I may not want to raise my child in his world, but Samuel is the love of my life, and it kills me to have to leave him like this. But my life is no longer about what I want; it is about keeping my baby safe and healthy.
Thirty minutes later I have my suitcase full of important paperwork, sentimental items, and clothes. Before I leave I sit at the kitchen table and write Samuel a letter:
Writing this letter is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. We live in two very different worlds, and because of that, we can’t be together. I know you said we can make it work no matter what, but your family hates me, and I refuse to make you choose between them and me. So, I’m making the choice for you. Please don’t look for me just know I am safe and will miss you for the rest of my life.
I’m sorry for everything.
With a heavy heart and tears in my eyes, I make my way to Grand Central Station. Martin is true to his word meeting me with a hug, “This is for the best.”
If this is for the best then, why does it hurt so damn much? Releasing me, he leads me to the train platform where we board our train out of the city. Once we are settled in a private car, he hands me an envelope. Looking inside I see a driver’s license, credit cards, and social security card with the name Sally Miller.
“That is your new identification; use only this name; I kept your birthday the same.”
Ruarc- Present Day
Bar Harbor, Maine
“I found her sir,” I say as soon as the call connects.
“Are you sure?” He asks in his deep no-nonsense voice.
“Yes, sir. I’m sending you photos now,” I tell him. Lifting the phone from the SUV’s cup holder I snap two photos, of the raven hair, porcelain skin beauty leaving the dingy gray townhome and getting into a brown, Toyota Corolla that is older than she is. Then I send them to him for proof.
“My god, she looks just like her mother. Where did you find her?”
“Bar Harbor, Maine.”
“Good job, Ruarc. Come back to D.C. and resume your job at the bakery.”
“What about the girl, Sir?”
“She is no longer your concern. Bring all the information you collected and get back to D.C.”
“Yes, sir,” I reply ending the call and driving away from Lena Miller’s home.
Rolling out of bed on a Monday morning is always the hardest. I enjoy my job but my boss is an ass, and I don’t feel like putting up with him, but due to the lack of options, I have no other choice. Showering quickly then dressing in my uniform of a red button-down shirt with the Resort Inn logo over the left breast and black slacks. I toss my heels in my bag while slipping into my flats and walking out the door. The morning weather is warm for the beginning of May in Bar Harbor, and not wanting to miss my opportunity to enjoy it, I walk the six minutes to work.
Nestled at the bottom of Champlain Mountain outside of the Acadia National Park is the Resort Inn. It is a picturesque down east resort with its gray and white wood shingle siding, large picture windows, and vast grounds. The ocean view resort was originally built in the late eighteen-hundreds and houses over two hundred guest rooms and cottages. Walking into the grand lobby passing the large white columns, a large sitting area complete with a massive fireplace, and white marble floors I’m met with a crying Willow. Willow Thomas is a curvy, brown hair, honey brown eye, bombshell, and my best friend. We became friends about six years ago when she started working at the Resort Inn as a massage therapist. Willow walks into my arms, “What’s wrong honey?”
“You haven’t heard?” She asks sniffling.
“No, what’s going on?”
“The Resort Inn Corporation has been sold to the Kindred Corporation. There is a rumor we will all lose our jobs,” Willow tells me crying harder.
“Shh, it will all be okay. It’s just a silly rumor, we are a large resort, and we’re booked through the summer. I doubt they will try to replace all of us. Let’s see what Jared has to say before we jump to any conclusions, okay?”
“Okay,” Willow answers walking with me to the employee lounge.
Two hours into my shift Jared Dupot, the Resort Manager makes his presence known. Jared is in his mid-fifties with a large beer belly, a bad comb-over, and yellow teeth. He has a habit of hitting on all the staff under the age of thirty. Stepping into my personal space, Jarrod whispers in my ear, “I’m calling a staff meeting. Be in the employee lounge in thirty minutes.”
“Fine,” I say turning to face him, putting as much space between us as possible in the small check-in area. “I have asked you a million times not to enter my personal space; if it happens again Jarrod I’m submitting a formal complaint. I’m tired of your bullshit.”
“Prude,” Jarrod says under his breath as he walks away.
Maybe the new owners will see Jarrod for what he is, a sexual harassment case waiting to happen. Maybe they will bring in someone who cares more about the resort and less about sleeping with someone twenty years younger than he is.
All the senior staff and management are assembled in the lounge when I walk in. I find an open seat in the back of the room and wait to hear what the all-knowing Jarrod has to say.
“Okay folks, I’m sure by now everyone has heard the rumors. The Resort Inn has been purchased by Kindred Corporation. The founder and CEO Patrick Love and CFO Dylan Love will be here tomorrow to evaluate us. I must warn you that three other sites have been closed. So, you may want to start looking for other jobs in the area,” Jared states.
Everyone shoots rapid-fire questions at Jared.
“How much notice will they give us before closing the resort?”
“Will they give us a severance package?”
“I’m five months away from retirement will they let me stay on till then?”
“How can they do this to us?”
Jarrod is such an idiot; he has no idea what he is talking about and is causing everyone to panic for no reason. Sweat forms on his brow when the staff demands answers. I jump up to try to calm everyone’s fears, “Look,” everyone turns to face me; “we have no idea what will happen. Those other resorts may have been in poor standing while we are booked throughout the summer and into the fall. Let’s just see what happens when Mr. Love arrives tomorrow.”
Jared finally steps up saying, “Lena is right. Please return to your sections and please keep this under your hat until we know more information.” Jared moves to the back helping to usher everyone from the room. Running his finger up and down my exposed arm he whispers, “Thank you for the help.”
Great, now I’ll have to go home and boil myself in the shower to get the feel of his hands off of my skin. Stepping out of his reach I reply, “No problem,” then return to my station.
After a long eight hours of Jared trying to hit on me, I’m finally free to leave for the day. Before going home, I stop to check on Martin Wilson. He is not only my mother’s oldest friend he was her boss before he retired. “Martin, are you home?” I yell stepping through the screen door.
“In here,” Martin yells back.
Walking through the house to the living room I find Martin watching Wheel of Fortune. “How are you feeling today?” Five months ago Martin had a heart attack; he’s been resistant to the changes to his diet and lifestyle. I think I finally have him convinced that if he wants to live to see his son get married he has to change.
“Not too bad for an old man.”
“Are you sure you’re feeling okay? That was a nasty cold.”
“Yes, I’m sure. You baby me too much. Now how are you doing?”
“Are you sure? I think you are displacing your grief for your mother into taking care of me.”
“I think you should stick to legal advice and not psychology.”
“Okay, okay. How are things at work?”
“Not good. The Resort Inn has been sold to the Kindred Corporation. I’m not even sure I have a job, but I’ll find out tomorrow when the new CEO and CFO are coming for a visit.”
“T-the Kindred Corporation? You need to be careful with them. Trust me when I say they are not good people.”
“Just please promise me you will be careful, everything is not always as it seems,” Martin pleads with me.
“I promise,” I tell him giving him a kiss on the head before leaving for home.
Curious about Martin’s reaction to the Kindred Corporation, I Google them, their homepage simply says We specialize in saving failing businesses. Clicking on the about tab, I learn that Patrick Love founded the Kindred Corporation when he was only twenty-four and still working on his MBA. He bought his first failing business and turned it into a fortune five hundred company within three years. When his brother graduated with a degree in accounting, Patrick asked his brother to join him as his CFO. Together they have saved countless jobs and businesses.
Scrolling through the rest of their webpage, I learn more about what they do and the businesses they have taken over but nothing about the CEO. Going back to Google I search for Patrick Love. I find pictures of him at different events with a beautiful Hispanic girl on his arm, but the only thing I can focus on are his eyes. Giving up on my search I set my laptop aside and go to bed, tomorrow will be a stressful day.
While my mother was talking with the other parents, an older boy with mocha skin and pretty honey brown eyes sits next to me. “Happy birthday princess,” he said handing me a small package.
“Thank you,” I say opening the package he handed me. Inside is a gold heart necklace ‘Forever’ engraved on it. I wrap my small arms around his neck hugging him tightly. “Thank you. I love it. Will you put it on me?”
“You are welcome Princess,” the boy says pressing a kiss to my forehead. Taking the necklace from me, he clasps it around my neck, then leaves without another word.
Waking up I try to shake off the dream, but something about that day stands out in my mind. Tossing the blankets aside I go downstairs to the kitchen for a glass of water before trying to go back to sleep.