Chapter 5

12 2 4


"
The rose has thorns only for those who
would gather it." -

Chinese Proverb

"Katrina!" Katrina turned back on the third stair and looked back at her grandmother. "You are sure you want to do this alone?"

She nodded.

She did not trust herself to say anything else least she lost all her confidence and her resolve and the lines that she had been practicing every day since she found out got muddled. These were the words that she had always planned to say to him but had never had the guts to do it. When it was not the guilt, it was the fear, the two forces that were always actively trying to stop her from doing what she felt was right. The two forces that had crippled her and allowed him to treat her like she was nothing, but now she would say it. Whether he wanted to or not, he would hear it. He was in her turf and the rules would now be hers to dictated.

"Okay, I'll be here if you need anything."

Katrina nodded and turned to resume her walk down the stairs. A bout of nervousness gripped her and quite unconsciously she found herself wiping back her now sweating palms on the black skirt of her dress.

"No!" She reprimanded herself as her hands once again dropped to her sides and her back went ramrod straight, her head lifted high as she walked in to the drawing room where she knew the man was be waiting.

#

The drawing room. That is, the Maracheli drawing room masterfully finished like the rest of the house was. Huge bay windows covered in translucent white curtains allowed the light to filter in,their panels open to allow the cool breeze that brought in the scents of the valley to waft indoors. It was beautiful, Ryan admitted to himself and the view below them even more glorious. The rocks that the cliff overlooked, the meadows and the rushing brook that meandered beneath it all that this room built to the side of cliff gave view to, was all so glorious, so majestic to as far as his artistic eye allow him to see it.

This was the seat of power for the great moguls of the Maracheli family. Their fortress of power into which he, like the insane dog that he was had wondered into. He did not allow himself to think of his family, his stature or even his own father's influence on the affairs of this country. The influence that had gotten him to that point to the place that he was now. No, he would not allow himself to think so. He needed all his wits about him and he needed to do this, what he had to do in his own way and in his own time.

As the two gilded mahogany doorways gave way in to allow his wife and the very person he had come to see, he turned around and regarded her with his usual glare. It was all he could show. Seeing her here unnerved him and as all the memories of the last six or so years rushed in, he almost lost his calm and gave in to the violence.

'Ryan!' her voice brought him out of his rumination and jolted him back to his present reality.

'Katrina...' he greeted her back, a sinister smile pervading the glare if only to unnerve her more, but she did not bat an eyelid. Instead, she regarded him pensively almost calculating as she took another step forward.

'What do you want? As I am aware you only want your child and he is not yet born, so...'

'I have no business here?' he smiled charmingly before his look turned bitter. 'Do not think that you have me in your palms now that you are carrying my child. I know what you did and if it's a war you want you will get it. Go ahead with the divorce, but know this, I will still have my child.' he added menacingly.

'Divorce you?' Katrina laughed. 'and give you an easy way out?'

'Funny, considering I already received the papers, signed by none other than you.'

A look of surprised flickered on Katrina's face and Ryan took all this in with the sneer masking his anger. 'What? You do not want to divorce me now? All your acting will get you nowhere and I am never falling for your innocent act again.' he spat out and Katrina looked back incensed.

'Fine. Believe what you will. God knows I have suffered enough for it and for my stupidity and my naivety, but now, enough is enough. I will not have you treat me like crap again! I know my worth Ryan. I allowed guilt to swallow me whole but we are responsible for our own decisions. If you won't believe me when I say that I was a foolish victim of my naivete just like you were, then that's your problem. Don't pin on me.' Katrina took a deep breath to compensate for her sudden rush of words. 'As for this child, you are free to be in his life, but not as you are. You will not drink around him or me for that matter and you will act responsible. Is that clear?'

Ryan regarded her with a curious  gaze mesmerized by this new woman who was standing before him breathing fire and brimstone despite who she once was. He was fascinated yes, but he did not delude himself into thinking that things had changed. This was the same woman who had cost him so much in the last few years, the same woman who was the reason for his estrangement with his own son, his family and now the head of the Maracheli family who was this close to letting his dogs lose to come after him. No, he did not allude himself to think that the white witch could become an angel. An angel of vengeance perhaps with the huge angry eyes and the cute white shirt and black skirt... but even demons could hide behind a facade that was innocent just to trick you to lower your guard down and to pounce when you were not looking.

'Fine. As you wish.' he retaliated for the moment and waited to see what her reaction would be.

'Great. Feel free to show yourself out.' with that she turned around on her red kitten heels and marched angrily out of the room.

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