Margaret’s marriage is in danger — she is shocked to discover that her husband has two cell phones. Desperate to save her marriage and secure a whole family for her beloved daughters, she tries to fight for it. But she has yet to realize what’s best for her children and herself.

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The shrill alarm cut through the pre-dawn silence, and Margaret’s hand reached out to silence it. Getting out of bed, she quickly freshened up and went to the kitchen.

As she went about her morning routine, Margaret could hear the coffee machine making a soft hissing noise. It felt nice, especially in the quiet of the early morning.

Margaret efficiently prepared lunches: a peanut butter and jam sandwich cut into neat triangles for Lisa, sliced apples and peeled oranges for Rosa, and a chicken sandwich for Tom. She used to love doing these things, but now they felt empty. She and Tom weren’t as close as before.

“Mom?” Lisa’s voice interrupted Margaret’s thoughts.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

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“Good morning, sweetie. Your lunch is on the counter.”

“Is Dad up yet?” Rosa bounded into the kitchen, full of energy.

“He’ll be down soon,” Margaret replied with a forced smile.

A couple of minutes later, Tom appeared, nodding briskly to Margaret. There were no pecks on the cheek, no discussion about their plans for the day.

“Did you sleep okay?” she asked.

“Yes,” Tom replied quickly. “Got an urgent meeting today. Gotta eat fast and leave. Girls, take the bus, okay?”

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

“Is it with Mr. Dickens?” Margaret asked.

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“Sort of,” he said, avoiding her gaze. “It’s complicated.”

He thanked her for the breakfast and prepared to leave, but then he realized his phone was missing.

“Let me help you look for it,” Margaret offered, moving towards his office.

“No, no, focus on your things,” Tom insisted, but Margaret went to his home office and heard a phone vibrating in a drawer.

“Tom, I think it’s here!” she called, but he had already found it and left abruptly, the front door slamming behind him.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

If Tom found his phone, where’s this noise coming from? Margaret wondered as she entered the empty office. Since she didn’t know where the office keys were, she used a hairpin to open the locked drawer from where the sound seemed to be coming.

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Inside, she found a phone that looked just like Tom’s. Her heart raced when she discovered messages from Pearl – Tom’s boss’s daughter. The young girl had accompanied her father, Mr. Dickens, to their home for occasional dinners.

One message from Tom said, “9:30 a.m., usual spot.” Margaret read more messages and found out where they were meeting. Margaret realized it was going on for a while now — Tom and Pearl’s secret meetings.

She went to the address, a café, and saw Tom and Pearl together. Her world stopped when she saw Tom and Pearl kissing. Margaret was torn. She didn’t know if she should confront them, especially thinking about their daughters.

Hiding behind a tree, she started to cry. “Tom, how could you?” she whispered, feeling the heavy weight of her wedding ring.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

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But she couldn’t let this young girl destroy her family. For the sake of her two girls, Margaret knew she had to act. So, she followed Pearl to her dormitory. “I’m here to see Pearl. I’m her mother,” she lied to the guard.

With a nod, he allowed her to enter.

Margaret walked down the sterile hallway, her shoes clicking against the linoleum, feeling the weight of her dread with each step. She stopped before Pearl’s door, adorned with a vibrant collage, and knocked sharply.

“Who is it?” Pearl’s youthful voice asked from within.

“It’s me, Margaret,” she replied firmly.

Pearl opened the door, her smile polite yet cold.

“Margaret, what a surprise,” she said, her tone laced with feigned innocence.

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For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

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“Enough with pretenses,” Margaret said quietly. “I know about you and Tom.”

Pearl’s smile briefly faltered. “Tom? Oh, you mean your husband.”

“He has a family. Children who need him. Do you even realize what you’re doing?”

“Margaret, you’re… just wasting your time. He doesn’t want that kind of life… He loves me.”

“Love isn’t built on lies, Pearl! I’m ready to forget whatever happened and move on. Tom’s family needs him!”

“But Tom’s happy with me, and he doesn’t want you anymore! So just back off, Margaret.”

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

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“Please, find someone your age,” Margaret implored, but Pearl dismissed her.

“Get out before I call security! Leave!”

Margaret walked away, her heart in turmoil. She had to do something to keep her family from falling apart. She returned home and prepared to face Tom, donning a dress from happier times and applying makeup to mask her pain. He had forgotten his lunch in a hurry and this was her chance.

Margaret showed up at Tom’s office with a lunch she made herself, hoping to light a spark between them. “Looks like I forgot to pack this for you,” she said, trying to sound playful. “Busy day?” she asked, entering his office.

“Swamped,” Tom replied quickly, even though his computer screen suggested otherwise.

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For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

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In a move unpracticed and tinged with desperation, Margaret perched on the edge of his desk, crossing her legs in an attempt to conjure allure from the days of their courtship, but she stumbled, falling to the floor. Tom’s laughter, sharp and short, filled the office.

“Oh God, Margaret! Here, let me help you,” he offered, his touch cool and detached.

Margaret’s face turned red with shame and anger. She felt like she didn’t belong in Tom’s world. “Remember when we talked about doing something wild in your office?” She tried again, hoping to bridge the gap between them.

“Margaret, I really need to get back to work,” Tom said, avoiding the topic and already guiding her to the door.

He held the door open for her, and she stepped out with a heavy heart.

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For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

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As the door clicked shut behind her, sealing away the man she no longer knew, Margaret walked down the corridor, the rhythmic click of her heels slower now. Her fingers curled around the edges of her purse, nails pressing into the leather as she paused outside Tom’s office building.

The city’s hum seemed to fade into a distant murmur, leaving her with the echo of Tom’s disinterest ringing in her ears. She lifted her gaze to the sky, tears in her eyes.

“Tom!” she called softly when he emerged several minutes later, buttoning his coat against the chill in the air. “I thought maybe we could… you know, have a little surprise tonight. At home.”

But Tom brushed off her efforts. “That sounds nice, Marge, but I’ve got this mound of paperwork,” he said. “It’s going to be an all-nighter. Probably won’t be home till morning.”

“Oh, I understand. Work comes first.”

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For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

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Margaret watched him leave, feeling their love fade away.

When she returned home, the silence was haunting her. She had no idea how she would fix things. But then her girls, Lisa and Rosa, came in, distracting her from her disturbing thoughts.

“Mom? Something’s different about you today. Everything alright?” Lisa asked, looking worried.

Margaret tried to smile. It felt good that they cared. And then Rosa said something sweet, “Mom, you’re really pretty, you know?”

Those words made Margaret feel stronger. She realized she didn’t just have to wait around for Tom to notice her. She had her girls, and that was enough.

With a new kind of energy, she told them, “You know what, girls? We’re going to be just fine. Even better than fine.”

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

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It was like she was saying she was done being sad about Tom not caring. Like she was ready to take on whatever came, just her and her girls.

After tucking the girls in for the night, Margaret opened her old dresser. She thumbed through the worn pages of her leather-bound address book until Tom’s boss, Mr. Dickens’s name, appeared. She recalled Mr. Dickens’s words about his daughter, “Pearl is the gem of my life.”

Margaret paused, wondering if she was doing the right. But she had no other choice.

She dialed his number, heart racing. “Mr. Dickens, it’s Margaret. There’s something you need to know about Tom and Pearl,” she said as he answered.

Margaret had synced her phone with Tom’s secret phone and knew he was going to meet Pearl at a hotel that night.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

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Later, in the hotel, Margaret spotted Tom and Pearl together, laughing and walking toward the elevator. She had left her daughters with a neighbor, so she didn’t have to worry about her girls being alone.

Margaret sneakily followed Tom and Pearl, and once outside their room door, where a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign hung, she sent a message to Mr. Dickens: “Your daughter and my husband are together here. If you care, come.”

Mr. Dickens’s arrival was thunderous, his voice booming with betrayal. “Open this door, Pearl!” he demanded as he banged on the door.

The door opened to reveal Tom and Pearl, caught in the act. “Jesus, Perry—don’t—” Tom’s plea was cut off by Mr. Dickens’s cold fury.

“You’re fired,” he declared, sealing Tom’s fate with those words.

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

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Margaret walked away, determined to move on.

As the front door closed behind her with a soft click, she felt a strange relief. But the respite was short-lived, as the sound of pleading shattered the calm. Tom was home.

“Margaret, please,” he begged, trailing behind her like a shadow. “I made a mistake. I need to see the girls! I want to be with you guys!”

She faced him then, her gaze steady and resolute. “No, Tom. The girls and I… we’ll be fine without you!”

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only. | Source: Shutterstock

Margaret kicked him out of the house, knowing that she had only become stronger and would be fine as a single parent. She would do anything to give her girls a good life and save them from their cheating father.

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If you enjoyed reading this story, you might also like this one: Jane was moments away from walking down the aisle when a secret note from her maid of honor turned her wedding day upside down. What was written in the note?

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.

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