January 14th, 1891

Collette woke up suddenly, unaware of what had awoken her. She wondered if everything that had happened yesterday had all been a dream, but knew as soon as she put a hand to her stomach that it hadn't been. She felt flat, and strangely empty. Part of her had been taken before she'd even had much time to acknowledge it's existence. Cries filled her ears, and she realized it was the words she'd cried out just the day before.

"Why does it have to be so hard?" She'd asked Ada. Ada, in her quiet way, reassured her that all would be well in the end.

"It may not be of comfort now, but you should be able to have more children." More children? Who would want her now, after she'd already been with a man? How would she explain to him on their wedding night that she was no longer a virgin? Even if she did remarry, how could anybody be certain that she would be able to have children? Now that she thought about it, did she want children? Did she have the skills it took to raise a child, much less birth one? She felt an overwhelming sense of inadequacy and started to cry. At first, the tears didn't come; she just felt self-pity. Then, slowly, the hot tears began to run down her cheeks.

"I'll never have anything like everyone else does!" She whispered fiercely, "My life hasn´t been normal, and never will be!" With that, she pulled the blanket over her head so she could cry without being heard. "I'm only nineteen! Girls my age aren't supposed to have these kinds of problems! They're supposed to be giggling with their circle of friends about their latest beaus!" Instead, she was crying under the covers about losing the child of man she never loved.

"It's not fair!" She told herself, as if it would make everything better. But, it didn't and the hurt was still there. If she hadn't wanted this child to start with, why was she mourning its´ loss? Sure, women get emotion when they're expecting, but that couldn't make feelings that weren't there to start with. Could it? She was all confused now, and the sleeve of her nightgown was beginning to become wet from wiping all the tears away.

"Why do I have to feel? I never loved this child, so why does it have to hurt this bad?" She asked herself, almost hoping an answer would come magically. When no answer came, she burrowed further under her blanket.

Now that she was no longer expecting Andrew's child, there was no problem with staying at the Walker's. She didn't have to worry about being on the receiving end of Marian´s anger. Even if Marian heard about it, she would just think that Collette was lying or had been the one to tempt Andrew. Either way, it wouldn't set well with her, and Collette would end out on the streets.

Collette had been planning for so long to leave, that it felt like she'd already left. The walls around her felt too confining, and she was tired of seeing the same things she'd seen for the past nineteen years. She needed to put the past behind her, and that included her position here. She needed to leave.

The sudden determination to leave made her wipe her eyes and swallow the thick lump in her throat. She threw blanket off her head, and was met by cool, fresh air. It had gotten stuffy in her hiding place, and she hadn't even realized it. So, part of her past feeling already, but it wasn't helping her any. With a sigh, she turned over onto her side and tried to sleep. She'd been sucking in breaths of air between tears for what felt like ages, and it was a struggle to make her heart slow down and keep her breathing normal.

She wanted to sleep, but not her mind was too alert. She'd been jumping from thought to though, and now it felt like she'd been running a mental race that she simply couldn't finish.

"Please, God, help me to sleep. Help me to get through this!" She prayed, though not sure if she believed in God. She remembered seeing her mother kneel beside the bed and offer quiet prayers to a god she loved. Her mother had trusted this god with everything; asked him for things to help everyone but herself; and thanked him for things that Collette did not even consider blessing. If her mother could do al that after working long days, taking care of a child, and being abused by the man she loved, then surely it did something for her. Not it, Collette told herself, He did. Her mother had an inner strength that Collette hadn't recognized until she was already gone. Now, she wondered if that strength had come from her god.

Light streamed into Collette's window before she managed to slip into sleep. She felt relief, and knew her worries wouldn't follow her into the land of dreams.