Molly winced as she gently applied the make up. Though the swelling was minimal, the bruises on her neck were colourful. “Thank God for concealer, stick make up and eye shadow,” she muttered while checking her reflection. The pain as she fastened the seatbelt was excruciating. Not for the first time did Molly wonder whether or not she ought to visit A&E. With each attack the injuries were more serious. She winced, recalling the terror when her husband of barely two months wrapped his fingers around her neck for the first time while repeatedly banging her head against the oak frame of their settee.
Jim glanced at the undermanager when Molly gasped as she placed the tray of coffee, tea, fruit and croissants with butter onto the large desk. “Why,” he asked as she gently closed the door, “would an intelligent young woman stay with an abusive husband?”
Molly’s hand trembled as she checked the incoming mail and booted up her computer. Messages from headquarters were coming in thick and fast. As she glanced out of the window, a picket yelled, “Good morning, Molly.”
Even though members of the clerical union voted against strike action, a few of the outsiders were abusive.
“It’s gonna be one of those days,” Ellie muttered as she gently tapped on the manager’s door. “This is the second time that the boss has summoned me this morning.”
“Third,” Molly mumbled as she glanced at the new office manager.
Embarrassed when Gordon sat beside her, she touched the delicate cream voile scarf around her neck.
“Pretty scarf, Molly,” Gordon quietly claimed while assessing her response. “But neither the make up nor the scarf can hide your injuries.”
Without a second thought, she accepted the handkerchief, gently mopping up her tears.
Molly’s lips trembled and tears cascaded down her cheeks when James knelt beside her and quietly said, “For God’s sake, little one, leave the bastard.”
Molly gasped. Pain rendering her helpless as she sipped the tea. The room was spinning; her vision blurred; she gasped, clutching her side, “Please,” she breathlessly pleaded. “Help me.”
“Ellie, the ambulance is on its way. Accompany Molly to the hospital and keep in touch. Gordon, contact her father. He’s working in the Silkstone seam. Bring him to my office, bathed and changed, within the hour.”
Tall, broad of shoulder with a powerful muscular physique, Alwyn dominated the large office.
“Strange, isn’t it, that the pickets saw fit to warn a scab of his daughter’s injuries. Hell,” he muttered. “My daughter’s just a kid.”
“Twenty years old, Alwyn. Gordon will ferry you and your wife to the hospital. Ellie phoned just a few minutes ago. Molly’s injuries are considered serious enough to warrant admission. At my instigation, the doctor passed photographs and X-rays to the police.”
Fury emanated from James as he glanced at the pickets reaction to the new arrival. “That bastard must have realised he’d gone too far this time.”
Nigel’s temper spiralled as pickets formed a barrier around the office block cutting off his approach.
“Alwyn, don’t do anything that will focus the pickets attention on you. Let them deal with Nigel Adams. It’s lunch time. Andrew was transferred this morning so we’ll discuss your promotion, effective from today.”